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Problem of Racism in the Modern World

Racism is a representation that innate biological characteristics of a person determine his or her behavior. This doctrine propagates a specific perception of the world in which individual’s personality does not perform as a determining factor while the fact of belonging to a particular racial group does. The purpose of this paper is to define three types of racism identified by David Newman and elucidate the way social institutions can end up racist.

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Three Types of Racism

The writer describes racism as a phenomenon in which certain individuals perceive the representatives of varying ethnic groups critically and assume their superiority over these people because of their innate biological characteristics. The first type of racism discussed by Newman is personal racism (338). It can be observed when people exhibit racist behaviors towards others. This type of discrimination can take many forms including both physical and psychological harassment (calling people names, acting aggressively towards others, showing disdain, and so on).

Apart from that, this form of discrimination can have a hidden or subtle character since it is not manifested explicitly (Newman 338). The author provides several examples of subtle racism. For instance, if school administration does not allow or prevents learners coming from minority groups from taking advanced courses, it should be considered personal racism.

The second type discussed by the author is “cultural ideology of racism” (Newman 344). According to this notion, the cultural heritage of one nation can leave room for discrimination of the values of other ethnic groups or minorities. In addition, this form of racism assumes the superiority of certain cultural groups. According to the author, social norms of a culture can promote divisive attitudes towards different people (Newman 344). A vivid historical example of this negative manifestation is justified persecution of Jewish people, which has resulted in genocide.

The third type of racism is defined by Newman as institutional racism (350). It is a phenomenon in which racism is formally reflected in the constitution of a country, or it is legalized by regulatory enactments. Moreover, Newman states that institutional racism can also be reflected in “customs, and practices that systematically reflect and produce racial inequalities in society” (368). Therefore, racism is not only established at the state level, but it also intertwines the racist practices with the daily activities of non-biased individuals. An example of institutional racism experienced by people during a long period of time is the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Racism, Institutions, and Individuals

Institutions can end up racist through the character of their fabric. They might resort to practices or processes that do not allow an equal approach to people with different backgrounds. The employed arrangements can leave room for social oppression (Newman 420). In addition, the residents of one country can be divided by residential separation. Moreover, such established practices as differential education or informal restrictions do reflect institutional racism despite the fact that the individuals who function within this system and not biased against other population groups.


Thus, it can be concluded that racism is a notion that can be applied to many different settings and situations. The three forms of racism discussed by Newman are personal racism, cultural ideology of racism, and institutional racism. Each of these forms can be exhibited both explicitly and inexplicitly. Nevertheless, all of them hinder the harmonious life of society.

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Work Cited

Newman, David M. Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life. 11th ed., SAGE Publications, 2016.

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